Memories of a carnage: ‘Grenade lobbed at Hasina in seconds as she stood up’

By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Aug 22 : The then opposition Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina nearly lost her life in a grenade attack on her party’s rally on August 21, 2004 here. Photojournalist S.M. Gorky, who was covering the rally for his newspaper, has shared his account of the day, narrating the horror he had experienced as the attack unfolded.

“The memories of the terrible day of the horrific grenade attack on Apa (Sheikh Hasina) still haunt me. I can’t control my emotions when I remember the gruesome incident,” Gorky told IANS on Saturday morning.

Gorky who was present at the rally told Hasina that he would like to take a good picture of her.

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To that Hasina replied: “You don’t end up taking pictures! Well, pick it up.”

“The first grenade was hurled within 10 seconds after Apa stood up posing for my camera. We didn’t have time to take pictures anymore,” said Gorky, who had also sustained critical injuries in the attack.

“Still I am alive after more than 150 splinters of the grenades got into my body”, the photojournalist said adding at that time all his treatment expenses were borne by his newspaper ‘Daily Jugantar’ after Hasina’s assistance.

“We had no idea about the explosion at the start of the rally. The attack was launched targeting Apa, the then opposition leader in parliament.”

Soon after the horrific carnage, Hasina was taken to her car. Security Guard Lance Corporal (retd) Mahbub died on the spot. Besides, 24 people lost their lives in the bloody attack.

Gorky was assigned by his office to cover the Awami League’s peace rally and procession at Bangabandhu Avenue of the Capital.

He was near the stairs of the temporary stage in the truck during the pre-procession rally. Later he got up on the stage to take pictures.

“We were on stage. After hearing the first sound of the grenade, former Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation Mohammad Hanif, Mofazzal Hossain Mayai, Sheikh Hasina’s personal security Guard Mamun and many other leaders and activists rescued her”, said Gorky.

“There was a bloodbath in front of the stage. It was difficult to identify who were killed and who were injured. When I was taken for treatment under police protection, people started throwing brickbats.”

Another journalist Subhash Singh Roy said, “I had arranged a medical team at South Asian Hospital in Dhanmondi. My former acquaintance Professor Kazi Shahidul Islam had treated them all.”

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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